"I was into music since I was a kid, listening to all the rappers, especially Biggie, watching Michael Jackson videos. I always wanted to be on stage and be that guy," says Daniel "Thrillah" Kane, the man behind the best local single, the sublime "Drop That" with collaborator Matty Boh, and your pick for best new local artist. Kane started writing his own music early, at a mere 10 years old, but he confesses he "only started taking it seriously recently." His early collaborations with artists like Cam Smith, who made beats for Kane when he was recording at home on a laptop at age 16, formed the core crew of people to whom he's fiercely loyal. "Cam and I started to make a little movement, we worked together a lot," Kane says. "He made a lot of my beats. He's a great talker and a great promoter."
When asked to name some local acts he was most excited by, Kane keeps it close to home: "Just my team, basically. That's who I run with." Along with Smith, Jay Mayne–who just released a new single with Thrillah on March 15, "Mill Youns"–has been there since day one.
But on Kane's latest album, Thrillville 2, a follow up to 2012's Thrillville, he branches out. New collaborators, new beats, new sounds. "I went with a lot of different producers, I really tried to do something different with this one. Music-wise I started making more club songs, something more relatable," Kane says. "I moved away from hard rap music. Where I'm from a lot of people listen to that type of music, but after going away and doing shows with Cam in PEI and Sydney, I felt like a lot of people were into the club vibe so I started to switch it up."
That shift was responsible for "Drop That," produced by the impossibly talented Matty Boh, a lively club anthem featuring a persistently spooky sample of what sounds like child's toy keyboard.
Thrillville 2 is a bit of a sampler platter, showing off Thrillah's vocal range, his mastery of different styles and his unique ability to take the work of a wide selection of producers and make it his own. It's an exciting offering–Thrillah is like a mountain goat, tripping easily over whatever terrain the producers want to throw his way. It all sounds different, but it all sounds like Thrillah.
"I'll always be where I'm from–in my heart I love trap music–but I really want to get out there and not only play in my area," he explains. "My family and friends around here know what I can do so I'm trying to push myself." Future projects include working with director Tyler Ross from Our Dynasty Our Destiny, remote collaborations with Compton rapper Pharo, performing at the ECMA awards show with Cam Smith and a birthday show in May. Playing to new audiences is like fuel for the young rapper, a chance for a clean slate and a chance to blister minds and mics with his talent.
"I don't want to see the same thing over and over when we do shows," Kane says. "It's cool to go away and show a new audience what you've got."